Hank Ballard – “The Twist”

Year: 1959

“Ballard’s ‘The Twist’ (1959) was indeed the first completely alienated dance form. Instead of being part of a pair, line, couple, or group, twisters were dancers who were liberated from stifling community; they were individuals. The twist was a revolutionary force in breaking apart social units and enforcing individualist ideology. Though rock ‘n’ roll music had existed long before this dance, the introduction of the twist was a shift which punctuated a profound new beginning for rock ‘n’ roll: rock as a culturally enforced paradigm, which cut across race and class lines.

“…The pill is widely credited for launching the so-called sexual revolution and for sparking a new era of promiscuity and rebellion against the nuclear family unit and its oppressive gender roles. But the pill and the twist, along with other postindustrial dances, didn’t just encourage more sex without regard for pregnancy; they also parented a new relationship to sex. People engaged in intercourse with lots of different people not because they were newly carefree – there had been sex before this – but because dancing, the ancient ritualistic pantomime of intercourse and intimacy, was now an alienated action; an individualistic task where the participant was required to be alone, in a frenzied, masturbatory state, both highly stimulating and deeply depressing. The void was to be filled with actual fornication. The two phenomenon are therefore related: ‘The Twist’ (1959) made the pill absolutely necessary, while “the pill” (1960) made the world engendered by the twist manageable.”

Censorship Now!! (2015)

Love him or hate him, Svenonius is always entertaining to read.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber